Has the City learned anything?
What I am about to write will - I suspect - make some of you laugh and some of you cry.
It concerns the attempt by a Guernsey-based investment group, Resolution Limited, to buy the UK life insurer, Friends Provident.
But it's really about the irrepressible financial creativity of the City of London - and whether bankers, investors and financiers have learned anything from the financial debacle of the past couple of years.
Let's start with Friends.
It was created in 1832 to "alleviate the hardship of Quaker families facing misfortune" (its words) and it was demutualised in 2001 to become a listed company.
These days it looks after the savings and financial interests of 2.5m policyholders, it has 739,000 shareholders and it has assets under management (as of 15 June) of £51bn.
Quite a pedigree, you'll agree.
Now let's look at Resolution Limited.
It's a Guernsey-incorporated company created at the end of 2008 for the express purpose of buying life insurance companies, asset management businesses and other financial firms.
According to its prospectus, it is "resident for tax purposes in Guernsey and is subject to the company standard rate of income tax in Guernsey at a rate of 0%".
But it is not an operating company. Again, to quote from the prospectus, Resolution has "outsourced most of its operating functions, including the identification and assessment of acquisition opportunities and the design and execution of the restructuring and disposal process for acquired businesses to Resolution Operations LLP".
As for Resolution Operations LLP, that's another new business created and owned by the well-known financial entrepreneur, Clive Cowdery, and John Tiner - whose name may ring a bell, because he used to be the chief executive of the Financial Services Authority - plus three others.
What's in it for them? Well they receive an annual fee of 0.5% of the non-cash value of Resolution Limited, subject to a minimum of £10m per year, plus 10% of any value they create from their management of any financial businesses bought by Resolution Limited.
So the proposal that's been put to Friends Provident's board is that a non-taxpaying Guernsey company would buy this life company, and its £51bn of assets would then be managed by a newly created partnership of five individuals, who would scoop 10% of any value they create over and above the annualised gross redemption yield on three-month UK gilts (not exactly a challenging hurdle right now).
You might think this looks like tax arbitrage and financial engineering, of a sort that is surely out of fashion in a City that wants to win back the hearts and minds of a taxpaying population which feels a bit let down by its excesses of the past few years.
But perhaps that's the wrong way of looking at the proposed takeover.
As it happens, Friends' board rejected the initial proposal from Resolution Limited - but Resolution received what it calls "constructive feedback" and may therefore come back with sweetened terms.
Who'll decide what will happen? The owners of Friends of course. And the most important of these are Lloyds Banking Group, Aviva, Axa, Legal & General and Royal London, which collectively control more than a quarter of the life company.
You may notice that they're all in the life business too.
If it were to turn out that these giants of the life industry think that the skills of Cowdery, Tiner and the remainder of the Resolution quintet are worth 10% of any value created, well that implies something not very positive about the relative skills of their own employees - since their own managers are rewarded rather less handsomely than Resolution's crew.
Is that really a message that Lloyds, Aviva, Axa, L&G and Royal London want to send to their staff and customers?